UN Committee Oks Amended Text of Convention Barring Time Limit on War Trials

The Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Committee (Third Committee) of the United Nations General Assembly has approved an amended text of a 10-article draft convention that would bar any time limit being set on the prosecution and punishment of war criminals and others committing crimes against humanity. The article was adopted by a roll-call vote of 59 to 10 with 27 abstentions.

It was declared that no statutory limit shall apply to the following crimes, regardless of when committed: War crimes as defined in the charter of the Nuremberg International Tribunal of Aug. 8, 1945 and crimes against humanity whether committed during war or peace as defined in that charter, including eviction by armed attack or occupation and inhuman acts resulting from apartheid or genocide “even if such acts do not constitute a violation of the domestic law of the country in which committed.”

Adoption of the article by the Assembly, it is believed by some observers, may affect the status of the statute of limitations on the prosecution of Nazi war criminals accused of murder which is scheduled to go into effect in West Germany on Dec. 31, 1969. There is a large body of opinion inside of Germany and abroad which holds that the statute should be postponed if not abolished altogether. But indications have been that the Bundestag, West Germany’s lower house, is inclined to let the statute apply, unless some declaration against it was made by the UN.

NEXT STORY